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This impressively original example of the very first edition of the Wasp is worthy of show presentation and benefits from over 40 years of care by one family. The Hudson’s original owner, though currently unknown, was quite likely a resident of Ohio, as he sold the car in the early 1960s to its second owner, a Mr. Howell of Columbus. At the time, the odometer reportedly displayed less than 16,000 miles, other than the addition of 1954-style hubcaps, the car remained in stock appearance.
With Hudson becoming insolvent in 1957, Mr. Howell was confident in the Wasp’s long- term appreciation, and consequently drove it very sparingly. In the late 1990s, he had it repainted in the current factory shade of Boston Ivory. Following Mr. Howell’s passing shortly thereafter, his son, Jonathan Howell, assumed ownership and, in 2009, sold the remarkably fresh car to Brent Bartley, also of Ohio.
Mr. Bartley was duly impressed by the Wasp’s low mileage and original cord-weave upholstery, which remains in stunning condition. Treated to a mechanical freshening, the car’s fuel system was flushed and cleaned; the exhaust, brakes, and radiator were rebuilt; and the seals and gaskets were tested and replaced as necessary. Much of the brightwork was re-chromed and new radial whitewall tires were fitted.
The consignor, a well-known Hudson enthusiast and historian, acquired the Wasp in 2012. This impressive Wasp displayed approximately 18,600 miles at the time of cataloguing and still features its original carpets, headliner, and upholstery. In keeping with its uncommonly original condition, the consignor deemed it worthy of the addition of an incredibly rare factory-optional Twin-H-Power dual-downdraft carburetor system, which was engineered specifically for the Wasp. Factory literature stated that the Twin-H setup gave the Wasp a 10% to 20% increase in brake horsepower. A far more common option on the Hornet, Wasp Twin-H systems were built in very small numbers and are coveted by collectors today. The coupe is accompanied by its original handbook and delivery packet, as well as an original unused spare. A beautiful testament to the brilliance of the venerable Wasp, this example is a cornerstone of the Hudson high-performance legend.
1952 marked an auspicious year in the development of Hudson, as the famous Wasp made its first appearance. Intended to capitalize on the popularity of the Hornet, which went on to win 27 of 34 stock car races in 1952, the Wasp replaced the long-running Super Six.
This model featured larger engines than the base-level Pacemaker, with an additional 30 cubic inches of displacement good for a 15-hp dividend. Available in five different body styles and featuring much of the Hornet’s sporty character and ingenious construction including Hudson’s famous step-down floors, the Wasp became one of the automaker’s best-known models, even owned by luminaries like Steve McQueen.